Platform PlayStation 4 Genre Adventure
Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment Developer The Chinese Room
There is no doubt in my mind that Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is one of the most pristinely gorgeous experiences available on the PlayStation 4.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture throws you into the small British country town of Yaughton. A town in which its populous has suddenly vanished, leaving a quaint ghost town. The three to four hour campaign (depending how long you explore) revolves around these disappearances as you seek answers to what caused this event. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to work out what caused this event throughout my time with Rapture, with information presented on radios, telephones and even showcased with environmental storytelling. When I ventured to the local doctor’s office I learned the general public thought this event was a flu, but after finding more information from the doctor himself, this eerie tale continued to twist and turn to the very end.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture primarily follows the story of Katherine Collins and her husband Stephen, both of whom work at the observatory in town and have unique relationships with the townspeople. Discovering these relationships is conducted by finding gold orbs within the world, each containing markers of past events which have occurred before the apparent rapture, offering some amazing voice acting and showcasing the not-so-quaint nature of this country town. These orbs are the central method to finding information regarding the townspeople and piecing together the relationships between each character. This is half the fun of Rapture, mostly because these situations and performances feel so genuine and well written.
Satisfaction with the ending of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture will certainly vary from person to person. I was hoping for a solid explanation as to what the event was and how it came to be, but instead the conclusion is very vague and up to interpretation. I’ve already enjoyed debating the ending with a few fellow gamers and the conversation will certainly provide fun for many weeks to come, but I can’t help but feel disappointed that The Chinese Room wasn’t willing to fully explain their narrative vision, instead leaving a big question mark when the credits finally roll.
Yaughton is a very distinct location, due to the fact it is located in the British countryside. This is a place I’ve never seen presented in a video game format and I think it certainly helped keep my interest, rather than the typical city locations which have become commonplace in gaming. Though Yaughton is quaint and beautiful, the atmosphere is always bordering on tense and eerie. Discovering an empty tavern which seemed to have been instantaneously emptied during a busy happy hour, or a set dinner table within a family home, made me continuously question my own safety, while falling in love with the post-rapture town of Yaughton. My favourite moment was when the gorgeous lighting was constantly obstructed by an ever rotating windmill; it was pure visual bliss.
My main issue with Yaughton is its size, due to the frustratingly slow walking speed. Even with the oddly implemented sprint system, walking is still painfully slow. Which makes exploring large areas only to find yourself blocked in by boundaries even more frustrating. Walking for a few minutes only to find that the area I was exploring didn’t offer anything, or simply had no way out, meant I was required to spend that time backtracking; even though there would only be one small bush blocking my path. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is very similar to Gone Home. Both games have very little gameplay, both are story-heavy, and both have the player walk for the majority of the experience. The difference is that Gone Home provided a dense yet small area, where backtracking wasn’t a frustrating issue. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture on the other hand continues to offer larger areas, most of which are empty space or locked buildings. I loved the narrative content found in Yaughton, I just wish there was more to make areas feel more packed with content, or at least some way to quicken the pace of what already is a cumbersome and odd walking/sprinting system.
Aside from walking and occasionally pressing a button to interact with the world, there is very little else gameplay wise. Accessing the aforementioned golden orbs is the only real complex gameplay system, and this is mostly due to poor explanation rather than a challenge. Accessing these items is done by tilting the DualShock 4 controller, and trying to dial into the orb in question. This system is not made clear and it took me a few attempts to figure out how these orbs worked.
Exploring Yaughton is made even more immersing due to the loud gospel tones that randomly present themselves. Though I loved this musical accompaniment, it seemed to begin at random moments and completely overpower the beautiful static sound of Yaughton. I understand the premise of these sounds is to emphasise exploration, but when I found myself in the middle of a corn field and the loud gospel music began, only for it to mute itself a few seconds later certainly for no reason; well it felt out of place.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture doesn’t offer much gameplay reasoning to experience the short adventure multiple times. But those wanting to try and clarify the vague conclusion to the narrative events, may find multiple playthroughs may help make the story more clear. Though as it stands, I find myself struggling to become excited for a second playthrough due to the ever-slow walking mechanics.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is beautiful, there is no question and there are so many picturesque locations throughout this country town. As well as the interesting not-so-quaint underbelly of Yaughton, which is made more appealing due to brilliant voice acting and realistically written dialogue.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture isn’t a game for everyone, with the lack of gameplay variation most likely providing many purchasing decisions. But if you are like me and enjoy an interesting short story, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture offers a good handful of well spent hours.
- Interesting plot that had me questioning the events till the very end.
- Well written dialogue, with great performances.
- The beautiful town of Yaughton.
- Vague conclusion to events.
- Cumbersome and painfully slow walk/sprint options.